Copyright Nik Bonkoski 2019

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Widow, you still have a lot to live for

January 31, 2018

 

Widow, 

 

You still have a lot to live for. 

 

Dancing under the stars with friends. 

 

Watching your children grow. 

 

Laughing until you cry. 

 

Warm sunshine on your face while you sit by the water. 

 

I don't like to give out advice because we all must find our own way in life and in grief. But something I wish someone would have told me right after my husband died? I wish someone would have told me to not try to figure out my future right now. To not be so sure that because of this loss and this heartbreak that I was going to live a certain way for the rest of my life. Right after loss we are shocked, we are shook up, we are in deep grief, we are depressed, we have anxiety.........we are lost. 

 

Let yourself be lost for awhile. 

 

Yes, it's an uncomfortable feeling.......to be lost. But it's when we are lost in the wilderness of grief that we one day look up, see the sun, and follow it to the path we are now meant for. We can't know what that path is right away. 

 

Take care of yourself. 

 

Rest. 

 

Read lots of books curled up in a sunny spot in your home with a cup of coffee or tea. 

 

Go for walks in nature. Find a nice spot to sit down and just be. Just be alive and let your mind wander. Breathe the fresh air and never, ever forget that you are still alive for a reason. 

 

When my husband first died......I wanted to die. I thought that without him I couldn't go on. But then I let my grief in. I allowed myself to build walls around my heart and distance myself from life for awhile. I didn't attend parties and I skipped out on activities with friends. I took time.......2 years.......to heal my heart and really listen to my soul. Two years I spent completey alone, a single widow in this big world. Two years healing my heart. Two years doing what was right for me and my children. Two years reading hundreds of books, listening to podcasts, and reading other widows blogs about how they stepped back into life after the loss of their partner. I needed that two years to clear my head.

 

Why? Because I was so gaurded right after my husband died. I remember standing in my driveway on a beautiful, warm, and sunny Minnesota fall day with my soon-to-be sister-in-law and we were for some reason talking about if I would ever get married again someday. And I said, "No way. That ship has sailed. Who the hell would want me? I'm broken. I have two really little kids. I have all this emotional baggage. Who would want that? I will just live alone forever." Did I really believe all of that? Yes, and No. I was so terrified. I had PTSD. I had just lost my best friend and I didn't believe that it was possible to live without him. I was building up walls that touched the heavens to protect my heart. 

 

I had to take that two years to find my way. I had to take that two years to heal my self-worth, deal with my feelings of abandonment, figure out which side of the bed I liked to sleep on since now it was all mine, and even think about........Did I really like this or that or was that something that he liked that I went along with because I loved him? I was totally lost. I didn't know who I was without him. I would look at myself in the mirror and have no idea who that woman was that was looking back at me. Did I want to move? Did I want to stay? Did I want to love again? I had no answers to these questions. No answers that were true answers and not just me lying to myself to protect my very fragile heart. 

 

Widow, you still have a lot to live for. 

 

Children's laughter on a rainy day. 

 

Laying in the grass on a summer day and watching the clouds go by. 

 

Traveling and finding yourself within the people you meet on the road. 

 

Dancing to music under the stars. 

 

It's all worth living for and one day you will be grateful for these things again and not wish them away. In the beginning days of my grief, I was angry at the sun for shining. I would close the curtains. How could the sun be shining when my husband was dead? How could I want to laugh? How could I want to love again? How could I even have the will to find my way without him? 

 

And the answer? Time. Give yourself time. It takes time to find your way after loss. It takes time to find out what you want from life after loss. When you lose a spouse you lose that future you were supposed to have with them. Which means you have to start from scratch. The dreams and goals that the two of you had together? Are those still your dreams? 

 

Give yourself time. Listen to your heart. Follow your gut. Don't let fear rule your life. 

 

I took two years before I stepped back into the dating world. And it was terrifying. And it reignited some of my grief. And? It taught me what I do and what I don't want from my life. And it's ok to have two roads that you see in your mind. What are my roads? On one road it's just me. Me and my kids and my writing and lots of traveling and someday me being an old lady traveling the country in her shiny silver Airstream camper. And my other road? It's me....married again. Having a family with a husband...again. No, I don't want more children of my own but yes, I'm more than ok with being a Step-Mom to someone else's beautitful kid becuase I love kids.  I miss family dinners, and someone to hang out with on a Sunday afternoon, and a partner to do life with. I envision me and a man that I love sitting on a porch somewhere watching the sunset day after day until we are old and grey.  I miss love. I miss my kids having a Dad. I miss having a best friend. Two roads. Both beautiful. Both wonderful. Either one I am OK with. In either story my life will be meaningful and full of love and purpose. 

 

Widow, you still have a lot to live for. 

 

I know it doesn't feel that way right away. And even after you have found your hope again......you can still have days of grief that knock you down and steal away your hope. Get back up. Chase down that hope, wrangle it, and put it back into your heart where it belongs. 

 

We lose our hope when we lose our spouse. 

 

Find your hope. 

 

When you have hope? You have everything. 

 

You have so much left to live for. 

 

Love. 

 

Cake and wine and friends on your birthday. 

 

Sand between your toes. 

 

A smile from a stranger. 

 

Watching your children grow up. 

 

Rain on your face. 

 

It's the simple things in life that make up a life. It's the simple things in life that make us feel alive. 

 

Give yourself time. Take care of yourself. Reach out to other widows for friendship, compassion, and learning. Your life matters. You are worthy of a beautiful life no matter which path you choose. 

 

Widow, you have so much left to live for. Just give yourself the time to heal and figure out what it is that sets your soul on fire. 

 

All my love, Nik 

 

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